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U.S. Army photo by Spc. Richard Del Vecchio

CAMPAIGN UPDATE 

27 November 2014


Dear members, supporters, readers and well-wishers,

Welcome to the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry bulletin.
 
The impacts of war are multifaceted. There are of course the statistics of numbers killed directly in wars, both in combatant and non-combatant roles. There are the long-term and often complex recoveries of the wounded and the increasingly recognised impact of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) in soldiers returned from war. Also the rebuilding of cities and communities, and the risks of terrorism taking hold in disaffected and displaced populations. There is recognition of the disproportionate impact of war and terrorism on civilian communities. The many wounds of war are an intergenerational challenge.

In this Bulletin, we look at some of the latest news on the mental toll on returned soldiers, the facts and figures of terrorism in this past year, the current deployment of Australian troops in Iraq as well as increased calls for declarations of war in the US.

We also look back on some recent Parliamentary activities on war powers and the conditions of this war, including the proposed war powers Bill tabled earlier this year by Senator Ludlam and looking back on the four key principles outlined by ALP Opposition leader Bill Shorten for the on-going support for the actions being taken in Iraq.

And we remind supporters that they are welcome to contact their Federal Parliamentarian to ask them to answer the question posed by our project, Australians for War Powers Reform, “Do you believe Parliament’s approval of decisions to go to war should be required?” (check here to see if your local member or Senator has answered this already.)
 
We look forward to your feedback, which you can provide to us directly.

Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry
 
PS: Your help to strengthen the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry and our project, Australians for War Powers Reform, is always appreciated. Please forward this Bulletin to friends, colleagues or relatives you think may be interested!
 
Sign up to the mailing list here if you have been forwarded this email, or post this link to Facebook or Twitter to encourage others to sign up themselves.

2014 GLOBAL TERRORISM INDEX OUT NOW 


17,958 people were killed in terrorist attacks last year, according to the newly released 2014 Global Terrorism Index by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

The creators of the Index note that in order to combat terrorism we must first understand it, with Steve Killelea, Executive Chairman of IEP noting,

“Terrorism doesn’t arise on its own; by identifying the factors associated with it, policies can be implemented to improve the underlying environment that nurtures terrorism.”
 
The Index offers a range of resources that measure and report on the impact of terrorism across 162 countries.

Key Facts:

  • 17,958 people were killed in terrorist attacks last year, that’s 61% more than the previous year.
  • 82% of all deaths from terrorist attack occur in just 5 countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria.
  • Iraq is the country most impacted by terrorism; last year there were 2,492 terrorist attacks in Iraq which killed 6,362 people.
  • Last year terrorism was dominated by four groups: ISIL, Boko Haram, al Qa’ida and the Taliban.
  • 40 times more people are killed by homicides than terrorist attacks. 
Learn more…

Watch the two minute video outlining the key facts learned in the Index.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

IMPACTS OF WAR
 

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS


According to news in the Age on 16 November, a new report from researchers from the University of Sydney’s Family Medicine Research Centre ‘analysed data from more than 12,000 GP visits by veterans between 2009 and 2014, comparing them with data from about half a million GP visits by non-veterans over the same period.’

“The researchers found PTSD was among the health issues dealt with in almost 9 per cent of visits by male veterans aged 18 to 54 years. Among non-veterans , just 0.25 per cent of visits by men in the same age group involved PTSD.

Senior research analyst Christopher Harrison said that PTSD was managed more frequently among younger veterans than among older ones and did not necessarily mean they suffered from it twice as often.”


Read more…

Updated information sheets for general practitioners on post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans are also now available from the RACGP.
 

VETERAN VIDEO


Although not new footage, this speech given by a former US soldier, Mike Prysner about racism, war and the dehumanisation of the enemy is currently in circulation again. It speaks to the awakening of many in the military about the complex impacts of tactics used in warfare. The speech was made at a forum held by Iraq Veterans Against the War, a group established in 2004 in the US. It is powerful viewing.

View now…

In a further interesting article from timesunion.com, David Kieran (author of Forever Vietnam: How a Divisive War Changed American Public Memory) uses the example of IVAW when he argues:

“As we consider the role that the United States and its military continue to play in the Middle East after more than a decade of protracted war, we should also contemplate how veterans of the most recent conflicts have since 2004 engaged with the history of an earlier generation's anti-war activism.”

Read more…

INCREASED CALLS FOR WAR


This week United States Senator Rand Paul made calls for a formal declaration of war against Islamic State. The US has not made a formal declaration of war in any conflict since the Second World War. According to reports this week in Fairfax papers, Senator Paul has offered a "very circumscribed definition of war in his proposal."

Read more…
 
Further calls for broad war authorisations through US Congress were heard in an opinion piece from the Editorial Board of the New York Times, which suggested,

“While it is important for Congress to repeal the 2002 authorization for the Iraq War and terminate the 2001 authorization against Al Qaeda, the priority in the lame-duck session should be to pass a new and separate authorization for the war against ISIS.”
 
Read more…

NEW REPORT: AUSTRALIA IN AMERICA'S IRAQ WAR 3.0 


The Nautilus Institute has launched a new report looking at the first three months of Australia’s new war in Iraq. Professor Richard Tanter explores the hurdles to Australian troops being accepted into the theatre by the Iraqi Government, the questions of rules of engagement and civilian casualties, as well as the Status of Forces (SOFA) agreements. Professor Tanter notes,
 
“Despite Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s assumption of the vestments of global warrior against the Islamic State “death cult” which “exults in evil”, the real character of the Australian decision to deploy special forces troops and aircraft to the Middle East for the latest round of the United States Iraq War 3.0 is best deduced from the Defence Department’s website on the deployment.

The last paragraph of the  imaginatively uninformative Operation Okra web page advises readers that, “further information about the international effort to combat the ISIL terrorist threat in Iraq can be found at the U.S. Department of Defense website.”


Read more…
 
In addition, Nautilus briefings on Australia in Iraq have up-to-date statistics on our troop levels in Iraq, which can be found here.
Parliament House Canberra | Stage 88 |  Photography

WAR POWERS REFORM BILL


In July of this year Senator Scott Ludlam of the Australian Greens put forward the Defence Legislation Amendment (Parliamentary Approval of Overseas Service) Bill 2014. As noted in an explanatory memorandum

"The purpose of this Bill is to ensure that, as far as is constitutionally and practically possible, Australian Defence Force personnel are not sent overseas to engage in warlike actions without the approval of both Houses of the Parliament."

This Bill is a revised version of one first introduced into the Senate in 1985 by Senator Colin Mason (NSW, Australian Democrats).  

The Bill had it's first reading this year in July, with a second reading in early September. It was not passed by Parliament.

However in his second reading speech tabled in Hansard, Senator Ludlam argued,

"Australia is one of the few remaining democracies that can legally deploy its defence forces into conflict zones without recourse to the Parliament: the decision is reserved to the executive alone. As kindred democracies around the world have enacted reforms to vest the so-called 'War Power' in elected Parliaments, Australia has remained anchored to a pre-democratic tradition founded in hereditary monarchies and feudal states.
If this anachronism had served Australia well, it might be possible to mount an argument that 'if it isn't broken, it doesn't need fixing.'
If the horror unfolding in Iraq does not comprehensively put this view to rest, it is difficult to imagine what would." 


Read Senator Ludlam's second reading speech or review the proposed Bill and all second reading speeches in full here.

ALP ‘4 KEY PRINCIPLES FOR LABORS FULL SUPPORT’

 
In late September 2014 ALP Leader of Opposition, Bill Shorten, announced his 4 key principles for Labor’s support for ‘Australia’s contribution to the international humanitarian mission to Iraq’.

In his speech Mr Shorten noted that these principles represented the conditions that the ALP have set for their support and the line that they have drawn for Australia’s engagement in the region. He noted too that these ‘will guide our response to the evolving situation in Iraq’.
 
There are four key principles that underpin Labor’s approach:
  1. we have indicated that we do not support the deployment of ground combat units to directly engage in fighting ISIL;
     
  2. that Australian operations should be confined to the territory of Iraq;
     
  3. our involvement should continue only until the Iraqi government is in a position to take full responsibility for the security of its nation and its people;
     
  4. if the Iraqi government and its forces engage in unacceptable conduct or adopt unacceptable policies then we should withdraw our support.
View the full speech in audio, video and Hansard transcript on AustralianPolitics.com.
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The views expressed in this bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry (Inc). Readers should note that the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry (Inc) seeks a diversity of views and opinions in order to identify common ground.
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